On visits to Florence, I have visited the Piazzale, usually on foot and during the day. This time we came with friends and drove there in the evening when the sun was low in the sky and the hues were good for photographing, it wasn't stifling and music was playing in the cafe below. It wasn't crowded, people were just gathering to enjoy the sunset and to absorb the view of Florence and the surrounding area.
San Miniato al Monte is only 5 minutes' walk from here and very well worth the visit. It is Tuscan Romanesque style in the green/black(ish) and white marble, other examples being the Duomo's baptistry and Santa Maria Novella (near the railway station of the same name). San Miniato's interior is very ornate, for example the coloured marbles, carvings and inlays in marble, Byzantine style mosaic, wooden ceiling, etc, etc. It's a little out on a limb, but if you are reasonably fit, there is a long flight of steps beginning not far from the Arno and through the city wall rising to Piazzale Michelangelo then a further, shorter flight of steps to the church itself. There seem to be bus services to the Piazzale if required.
Enjoy but remember to be respectful; the surrounding burial ground is still in use. Shoulders and knees need to be covered when entering the church.
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